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Customer Reviews

Cambridge Audio CXA81

Stereo integrated amplifier with built-in DAC and Bluetooth®

MFR # C11130K

Cambridge Audio CXA81

Cambridge Audio CXA81

Stereo integrated amplifier with built-in DAC and Bluetooth®

MFR # C11130K

22 reviews
View this product

Cambridge Audio CXA81

Crutchfield customer from Brambleton, VA on 5/8/2020

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I paired this with my old sanus faber concertos, rega sp3 with musical fidelity phono amp and the sound is so amazing! Took me a long time to choose it by reviewing several comparable two channel integrated amps. The availability of the XLR audio inputs is what sealed the choice. So glad that I did!

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0 of 0 found this helpful

Love it!

Crutchfield customer from Los Angeles, CA on 4/28/2020

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This is fantastic! A very lively sound. Tight bass and very clear highs! Does an excellent job driving the LS50s.

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1 of 1 found this helpful

Cambridge Audio CXA81

Crutchfield customer from Orlando, FL on 4/23/2020

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I am very pleased with the performance of the Cambridge amplifier. It performs as advertised. My only regret is that the controller doesn't provide for volume adjustment. As far as sound reproduction, channel separation, and appearance, i am totally satisified.

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0 of 1 found this helpful

Exceptional clarity & detail!

Crutchfield customer from S Burlington, VT on 4/17/2020

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I purchased this amp as I needed more power to drive my Wharfedale 10.2 bookshelf speakers. They are quite inefficient, at just 86dB sensitivity and a 6-ohm load. I originally purchased a Marantz PM-8006 (70 WPC@8ohm, 85 WPC@ 6ohm), hoping it would have the juice to bring my Wharfedales to life, but it did not. I'm a big fan of the Marantz sound and build quality, and while it's an excellent amp, and would work with more efficient speakers, it didn't work for me. So after doing a ton of research, I arrived at this Cambridge unit. It's a well-reviewed, award wining amp, and with putting out 80 WPC@8ohms and 100WPC@6ohms, I thought this would surely have the power I need for my Wharfedales. While it was a noticeable improvement over the more laid back sound of the Marantz PM8006, I still felt it didn't have the punch my speakers needed. But, it was very close. The soundstage was incredible- articulate, detailed, a bit forward, but insanely clear. Finally, my Wharfedales were brought to life!!! Imagine and spatialization were remarkable. Just not quite enough low end punch though for my power thirsty speakers. I really loved this unit- and nearly kept it. But in the end, I chose the NAD C388 amp at 150 WPC, as it really brought out my speakers full capability with plenty of power to spare.

Pros: - stunning clarity - highly musical - plenty of power, even for inefficient speakers - easy to use - solid build quality

Cons: - lack of cohesiveness to the music at higher volumes - no phono stage

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6 of 7 found this helpful

A Solid Option

Steve from Cambridge, VT on 4/7/2020

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This is an excellent amp for the money. It shines in rendering small-to-medium-sized combos playing rock, e.g. Steely Dan, jazz, e.g. Art Pepper, by providing detailed, crisp, clear, dynamic and punchy sound with slam when needed. Vocals, both male and female, carry emotion. The bass is literally visceral. Highs are crystal clear without being fatiguing. However, what is not addressed in most reviews is my impression that it can sound a little smeary when it runs into complex, layered pieces with lots of musicians or arrangements involving the interplay of different sections, such as orchestral or big band music, e.g. Zappa's London Symphony or Yellow Shark recordings. The same holds true for tunes where there is a lot of competition for musical space in the mid-range, e.g. Branford Marsalis' live recording of A Love Supreme. Also it doesn't fully etch out all of the nooks and crannies when it encounters challenging combinations of rhythm and timbre, like up-tempo horn jazz licks like Coltrane's tenor solo on Giant Steps. If you're into music that plays to this amp's strengths you will probably appreciate the headroom (even at 80 wpc), punch, authority in the bass, clear highs and good detail overall. If your tastes go more towards sweeping, sonically diverse, complex, large-group music it might not live up to the expectations created by many of the reviews out there. I'm still giving it 5 stars because, even so, it does deserve them at this price.

Pros: Punchy, dynamic, powerful, clear highs, floor rattling bass

Cons: Better suited to small combo music than to orchestral or big band

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5 of 5 found this helpful

Cambridge Audio CXA81

Crutchfield customer from Yuba City, CA on 3/30/2020

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Excellent amp, paired it with KEF LS50.

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1 of 1 found this helpful

Cambridge Audio CXA81

Crutchfield customer from Pittston, PA on 3/24/2020

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I stumbled into a vintage paid of Ohm Walsh speakers that were 4ohm, so I needed something substantial to move them. After doing some research, I found this amp in my price range. After reading reviews and seeing that it had won awards for its improvements, I was sold. In the few weeks that I have had it, I must say, it's a beautiful piece. It is built like a tank. Everything about it feels solid and "expensive", lol. The packaging was like opening a high end piece of jewelry. The inputs and connectors are great and syncing a Bluetooth device was a breeze (although I bought it to listen to vinyl primarily). The sound and responsieness are more than I could have expected and make me want to throw all of my other equipment away. I've been listening wrong for all of these years. Buy this. You won't regret it.

Pros: Build quality. Sound. Response. Ease of setup.

Cons: No tone controls, but I'm reaching here.

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3 of 3 found this helpful

Good price, amazing sound.

Crutchfield customer from South Jordan, UT on 3/22/2020

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This integrated amplifier answered all my expectations for good stereo sound. It is connected with audioquest cables Rocket 11 by single-biwire to a pair of Kef R3 speakers. It produces a clean, clear and richly detailed sound.

Pros: Good number of digital and analog inputs. DAC of great quality. Incredible sound

Cons: Nothing until now

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2 of 2 found this helpful

Smooth

Crutchfield customer from Grand Rapids, MI on 3/22/2020

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Set up with Klipsch Forte ll the sound is crystal clear open and well defined. Using with B&W 602 2 along with a Polk 100w Sub the highs are just ok lows fine. This is an excellent integrated amp which deserves using with very good allied equipment.

Pros: Set up, sound, appearance

Cons: None

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2 of 2 found this helpful

Cambridge Audio CXA81

Crutchfield customer from Mountain Lakes, NJ on 3/10/2020

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Sounds great and works perfectly with the CXN streamer.

Pros: Obviously very well built and sounds great.

Cons: The remote is a bit hard to figure out but I've only been controlling it with my phone anyway. Sounds is great. I understand the crossover is at a pretty high frequency ~2500 Hz so you might want to control that lower with the subwoofer. Instructions on things like that are a bit thin.

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3 of 3 found this helpful

sublime sound

Aditya from FREMONT, CA on 3/8/2020

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Bought this along with some Monitor 100 silver bookshelfs, and a sonos port (Have the sonos turn this on via the 12v trigger) and the power on this amp is effortless - the sound quality just envelopes you.

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2 of 2 found this helpful

Big improvement in sound quality

Crutchfield customer from Hilton Head, SC on 3/8/2020

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Great products that have greatly improved the sound quality of my audio system. Had some problems with set up; Crutchfield Tech Support supplemented by my own reading solved them eventually. Much better than buying from other online vendors, where you're on your own after purchase.

Pros: Great sound.

Cons: Set up would be easier if manuals were clearer: better explanations to supplement diagrams.

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1 of 1 found this helpful

Cambridge Audio CXA81

Crutchfield customer from Carlsbad, CA on 2/26/2020

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I had a 25-year-old Harmon Kardon receiver before I picked this receiver up. So my perspective may be different than that of an audiophile enthusiast. But this unit is amazing. It has all the power that I wanted to drive my B&W CM5's and CM1's. These speakers can take quite a bit of power. [120 & 100 watts] High Res CD's sound amazing, sharp crisp and very detailed in the delivery of the sound. I have the CM5's in a living room and I can fill the room with excellent sound at all volumes. 15x15. The CM1's are in my kitchen, and they absolutely rock in there. [about a 25-foot run from the receiver.]Spotify sounds so much better than I was anticipating. It's terrific to allow guests to our home to hook up to the Blue tooth to play there own files. This unit was easy to set up. The Crutchfield team offered excellent service. The remote is easy to use, and, It is terrific to adjust the volume from the sofa.

Pros: Sound-power-ease of use.

Cons: Getting use to no base knob.

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4 of 4 found this helpful

Cambridge Audio CXA81

Crutchfield customer from Ft Lauderdale, FL on 2/2/2020

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Good Day All, this is the first review I've ever written, bear with me....... So I've been using a Hitachi HMA 7500 since 1978, now paired with a NAD 165BEE , JRiver, Tidal, DacMagic, and Paradigm Monitors (2 sets and Sub) that are about 30 years old. I know, a very weird combination but in all to me a decent sounding stereo. Just bought the CXA81 because I have to expand and make two stereos out of the kit. Anyways, totally happy, CXA81 works excellently in every regard. I bought this based on all the reviews I could read and cannot be happier. Works even better than expectation....... Don

Pros: Exceptional, easy to setup and use,

Cons: For the cost, absolutely none. Oh, be careful you don't hold the remote upside down and raise the volume rather than lower it. Easy to do with this remote.

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3 of 3 found this helpful

Great sound

Crutchfield customer from Senoia, GA on 1/26/2020

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Performs better than expected. I'm an old school guy, so I'm still learning all that I can do to this unit. Not used to digital inputs and Bluetooth and wi/fi. Hey, it's also fun!!!

Pros: Digital inputs and analog. Powering my new goldenear triton one . Rs. Now you know I have great sound.

Cons: Nothing yet.

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2 of 2 found this helpful

Cambridge Audio CXA81

Crutchfield customer from Yaphank, NY on 1/13/2020

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Very satisfied. I had purchased a Marantz NR1200 and was not happy with it. It sounded shrilly and not much punch. I returned it and sprung for the extra $ and purchased the CXA81. Worth every penny. The rest of my system consists of Q Acoustics Concept 20 mains and dual Cambridge Mind X301 subs.

Pros: Open, punchy, defined bass. Power to spare.

Cons: None

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6 of 6 found this helpful

Simplicity defined. Incredible sound.

Crutchfield customer from Brattleboro, VT on 12/15/2019

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I was pretty sure that I was missing out with my older amp (which was no slouch) but WOW this CXA81 is astounding. I simplified my system greatly yet improved the overall sound quality dramatically. Very pleased with the result. Great amp.

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4 of 4 found this helpful

Cambridge Audio CXA81

Crutchfield customer from Bridgeport, CT on 12/14/2019

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Great sound/

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1 of 1 found this helpful

A Solid, Honest, Presentation of Beautiful Sound

Crutchfield customer from Los Angeles, CA on 12/12/2019

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It's been over a month of my listening to the CXA81 and I just keep enjoying and appreciating it more and more with every bit of music I flow through it. It just projects an honest, up front sound, with a wide stage and plenty of power and detail. With just two bookshelf speakers, I still feel that the details of the music are dancing all around me. It has all the inputs I could ever need minus a phono stage, but I didn't expect or want one built-in. After going though many high-end HiFi amps over the years, the 81 is a keeper and will keep its place as the center of the family sound system for a very long time to come.

Pros: USB input and the variety of other inputs

Cons: No tone controls, which was irritating at first but oddly enough I like not having them now.

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6 of 6 found this helpful

Nice British sound

Crutchfield customer from Diamond Bar, CA on 12/8/2019

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Very nice British Sound, deliver an open sound stage, punchy and clarity of the vocal is amazing.

Pros: Powerful class AB, built in Bluetooth with aptX® HD is a plus.

Cons: No Phono stage.

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2 of 2 found this helpful

Powerful Cambridge AMP

Crutchfield customer from San Marino, CA on 12/2/2019

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I am very satisfy Cambridge Audio CXA81, which delivers powerful, crystal clear music to my floor standing REVEL F208.

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2 of 2 found this helpful

Absolutely brilliant

Crutchfield customer from San Francisco, CA on 11/24/2019

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Very musical and very punchy too. Definitely recommend a Sub to get the best bass. The built in DAC is surprisingly good when paired with a PC thru USB.

Pros:

Cons: I wish they added an ethernet port to allow web or mobile app control.

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5 of 5 found this helpful

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